ALBANY, N.Y. — New York Republicans assailed Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration on Thursday night in response to new revelations about his stonewalling the release of information about nursing home deaths, with several calling for him to resign or be impeached.
The New York Post reported that top gubernatorial staffer Melissa DeRosa told Democratic state legislators in a meeting on Wednesday that the administration “froze” when asked to release data about the number of nursing home residents who had died of Covid-19. A March directive from Cuomo calling on nursing homes to admit patients who tested positive for the coronavirus has been blamed for contributing to high death rates.
DeRosa said the administration resisted the release of data because of former President Donald Trump’s attempts to turn the tragedy “into a giant political football,” according to the Post. “Because then we were in a position where we weren’t sure if what we were going to give to the Department of Justice, or what we give to you guys, what we start saying, was going to be used against us while we weren’t sure if there was going to be an investigation," DeRosa said, according to the Post.
Nearly every top Republican in the state pounced on the Post’s report, subjecting Cuomo to a barrage of criticism arguably unparalleled at any point during his decade in office.
"For over six months, day after day, in briefing after briefing, Governor Cuomo stood before New Yorkers and lied about his directive that contributed to the deaths of thousands of seniors,” said Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, Cuomo’s 2018 challenger. “In the coming days he will cynically try to convince us that it was for our own good — that it was someone else’s fault. This is another lie. What is true, is Andrew Cuomo has proved himself unworthy of our trust, and unfit for public office."
“Prosecution and impeachment discussions must begin right away,” state GOP Chair Nick Langworthy said. “If the Governor is involved, he should be immediately removed from office,” said state Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt. And Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) called for other members of Congress to call for “an independent and thorough investigation by the Biden Department of Justice into Governor Cuomo and New York State.”
Numerous Democrats have attacked Cuomo following the recent release of a report from state Attorney General Tish James saying the governor undercounted the number of deaths. So far, however, the leaders of the state Legislature have avoided going to war with Cuomo by issuing subpoenas or reducing his emergency powers.
Some Democrats who have been the most vocal critics of Cuomo joined Republicans in responding to the Post article: “You’re only sorry that you all got caught,” tweeted state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi (D-Westchester). “Because of your decisions, thousands of people died who did not have to die.”
Cuomo adviser Rich Azzopardi responded to the Post’s report in a comment to the paper that he subsequently tweeted: “We explained that the Trump administration was in the midst of a politically motivated effort to blame [Democratic] states for COVID deaths and that we were cooperating with Federal document productions and that was the priority and now that it is over we can address the state legislature.”
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